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HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR ASSESSMENT APPEALS HEARING

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS GLORIA MOLINA Supervisor. HAMAI Executive Officer © Copyright 1998 by the County of Los Angeles Revised October. 4th District MICHAEL D. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems without permission in writing from the County of Los Angeles Executive Officer. 2007 All rights reserved. Board of Supervisors 500 West Temple Street. California 90012 . 5th District SACHI A. 3rd District MARK RIDLEY-THOMAS Supervisor. 2nd District DON KNABE Supervisor. Room 383 Los Angeles. ANTONOVICH Supervisor. 1st District ZEV YAROSLAVSKY Supervisor.

............. 7 IF MY APPEAL IS DENIED FOR NON-APPEARANCE...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 3 WHAT “VALUATION DATE” SHOULD I USE?...... 4 WHAT IS AN ARMS-LENGTH OPEN MARKET TRANSACTION?................................................................................................... 7 WHO PARTICIPATES AT THE HEARING?......................................................................................... 3 WHAT IS THE LIEN DATE? ................................................................... 6 IS PARKING AVAILABLE AT THE HEARING LOCATION? .......... 2 PREPARING FOR YOUR HEARING ....................................................................................................... HOW CAN THE HEARING OFFICER OR BOARD COMPARE TWO PROPERTIES?............. 8 WHAT IF I REACH AN AGREEMENT WITH THE ASSESSOR PRIOR TO THE HEARING..................... OR I CHOOSE TO WITHDRAW MY APPEAL? ............................................................. 7 HOW IS THE HEARING BEFORE A HEARING OFFICER CONDUCTED? ........................................................ 7 WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON'T ATTEND THE HEARING AND I DON'T SEND AN AUTHORIZED AGENT? ............................ 6 HOW LONG WILL I HAVE TO WAIT FOR MY HEARING TO BEGIN?. OR THE ASSESSOR DISAGREES........................................ 3 IS THERE A TIME FRAME WITHIN WHICH THE COMPARABLE SALES MUST HAVE OCCURRED? ................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 2 WHAT IS A COMPARABLE SALE?......... 7 WHAT IF I DISAGREE...... 4 WHAT SHOULD I CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING MY COMPARABLE SALES?............................................................................... 9 1 ..................................................................................................TABLE OF CONTENTS ASSESSMENT APPEALS BOARD ... 8 APPENDIX COLLECTING EVIDENCE AT THE ASSESSOR’S OFFICE ................................................. 7 WHAT IF I AM UNABLE TO PERSONALLY APPEAR AT THE HEARING? .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 2 HEARING OFFICER PROGRAM.. 5 ARE THERE OTHER METHODS OF ESTABLISHING THE FAIR MARKET VALUE OF MY PROPERTY?.......................................................................................... WITH THE HEARING OFFICER’S RECOMMENDATION?.......................................................... 6 THE DAY OF YOUR HEARING............................................................................................................................................. 2 WHAT TYPE OF EVIDENCE IS ADMISSIBLE? .................. AND HOW IS IT DETERMINED? ................................................................................... 3 WHAT IS THE VALUATION DATE................................................................................................................................. 4 WHAT TYPE OF EVIDENCE IS INADMISSIBLE?.......... 6 IS THERE ANY OTHER INFORMATION I SHOULD BRING TO THE HEARING? ........................... DO I HAVE ANY RECOURSE? .......................................................................................................................................................................................................... 5 WHERE CAN I FIND INFORMATION ON COMPARABLE SALES? .................................................................................................................. 4 WITH ALL OF THESE DIFFERENT “PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS” FOR COMPARABLE PROPERTIES...................... 8 WHAT HAPPENS IF THE HEARING OFFICER’S RECOMMENDATION IS NOT APPEALED BY EITHER PARTY?.............................................................

However. What type of evidence is admissible? Only evidence presented at the hearing is admissible. During the hearing both you and the Assessor will have the opportunity to present evidence to support your respective opinions of the fair market value of your property. HEARING OFFICER PROGRAM The Board of Supervisors established the Hearing Officer Program to resolve less complex issues of valuation relating to single-family residences.000 assessed value. experience. PREPARING FOR YOUR HEARING The purpose of your hearing is to resolve your dispute with the Assessor over the assessed value of your property. will not be considered unless presented at your hearing. evidence must be relevant and material. cooperatives. In accordance with the eligibility requirements established by State law. Hearings are not conducted in accordance with the formal rules of evidence used in a court of law.HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR ASSESSMENT APPEAL HEARING The following information is provided to help you better understand and prepare for your hearing before an Assessment Appeals Hearing Officer. Your evidence may be in the form of oral testimony by you. The most common and reliable type of evidence used to support an opinion of “fair market value” is evidence based on the sales of comparable properties. Hearings before a Hearing Officer are less formal than hearings before an Assessment Appeals Board. or other witnesses who may wish to testify on your behalf. and other properties that do not exceed $3. Any documents previously provided. or previous discussions with the Assessor. Although it doesn’t happen often. You may also bring to the hearing written documentation that supports your case. if the Hearing Officer determines that the issues involved in your appeal are too complex to be heard by a Hearing Officer. the Hearing Officer will recommend that the appeal be heard by the Assessment Appeals Board. the Board of Supervisors selects and appoints the members of the Assessment Appeals Board and the Assessment Appeals Hearing Officers based on their knowledge. The Hearing Officer reviews evidence presented by you and the Assessor at the hearing and makes a recommendation regarding the fair market value of your property to the Assessment Appeals Board. or others. The Assessment Appeals Board reviews the Hearing Officer’s recommendation and either accepts or rejects the recommendation. your agent. condominiums.000. to be admissible. The Hearing Officer will review the process with you at your hearing. or multiple-family dwellings of four units or less. and qualifications to act as an impartial judge and to fairly determine the fair market value of property based on evidence presented at a hearing. regardless of value. an expert witness. 2 . if you have any questions you should feel free to ask them at the time of your hearing. ASSESSMENT APPEALS BOARD The Assessment Appeals Board (Board) sits as the County Board of Equalization on behalf of the Board of Supervisors and is not part of the Assessor’s Office.

Assessed values determined as of the first two dates are referred to as “base year values”. for sales of comparable properties made after the valuation date of your property. and 3) the date of the sale of the comparable property may be any time prior to the valuation date. PLEASE BE CAREFUL: One of the most common errors made when gathering evidence is to use the sale of a comparable property which occurred more than 90 days after the valuation date of your property. There are three general criteria used to evaluate the “comparability” of a property: 1) the sale of the property must be an arms-length open market transaction. but cannot occur more than 90 days after the valuation date of your property (the date for which the fair market value of your property is being determined).What is a comparable sale? When we talk about a “comparable sale”. utility. REASON FOR FILING Decline in Value (Prop. or (3) as of the lien date for the partial completion of new construction. then the valuation date is the lien date for the year on which you are filing. However. What is the valuation date. the Assessor establishes a new assessed value for property (1) as of the date of sale or transfer. only sales made within 90 days of the valuation date of your property may be used as evidence. legally permitted use and other physical attributes. the more useful those comparable sales will be in determining the fair market value of your property. If you are appealing a “base year” assessed value. we mean a sale of a property that is comparable to your property. What “valuation date” should I use? If your appeal is filed based on a “Decline in Value” (Proposition 8) of your property. (2) as of the date of completion of new construction. quality. 2) the “comparable” property must be similar to yours based on size. If you are appealing the assessed value for partial completion of new construction. Sales that occur more than 90 days after the valuation date of your property are specifically prohibited by California state law from being used as evidence. 8) Change of ownership New construction Partial new construction VALUATION DATE January 1st immediately preceding the fiscal year covered by the application Actual date of transfer (sale date) Date of completion Lien date (January 1st) 3 . Normally. the valuation date will be either the date of purchase/transfer or the date of completion of new construction. condition. age. site location. the lien date is your valuation date. However. amenities. the closer the sale dates of comparable properties are to the valuation date of your property. Is there a time frame within which the comparable sales must have occurred? All sales of comparable properties made before the valuation date of your property can be used as evidence to support your appeal. and how is it determined? The valuation date is the date used by the Assessor when establishing the assessed value for property.

and any other physical attributes of the property. size of improvement (square feet).Page .Assessed values of comparable properties. This is one of the most common examples of inadmissible evidence. “cash value”. the lien date is January 1. if exposed for sale in the open market with a reasonable time for the seller to find a purchaser.). site location in relation to your property. What should I consider when choosing my comparable sales? The comparable properties that you choose should be physically similar to your property. zoning (residential. If the sale of a property is not the result of an arms-length open market transaction. would transfer for cash or its equivalent under prevailing market conditions between parties who have knowledge of the uses to which the property may be put. So for example. An arms-length open market transaction is defined as the price at which property. health. 4 . the sales price of a house purchased as the result of a foreclosure may be lower than if the house had been sold under different conditions. 2007. . “actual value”. both seeking to maximize their gains and neither being in a position to take advantage of the needs of the other. The purchase price of property sold under these conditions should normally be the “assessed value” of the property. “full cash value”. . garage size.Your age.Sales of comparable properties that occurred more than 90 days after the valuation date of your property.The amount of taxes paid on your property or another property. year built. amenities (pool. view). quality of construction. deck.What is the lien date? The lien date is the date on which taxes for any fiscal year (July 1 thru June 30) become a lien on property. The lien date is the 1st of January that immediately precedes the fiscal year.Parcel Number) for the “comparable properties”. . For example. the sales price may not be a good indicator of the “fair market value” of the property and may not be accepted as evidence at your hearing. What is an arms-length open market transaction? The words “full value”. or other matters not related to the value of your property. Items used to determine whether other properties are “physically comparable” to your property are: size of the lot (square feet). or financial condition.Assessment Appeals Board decisions regarding other properties or even previous Assessment Appeals Board decisions on your own property. etc. commercial. . number of bedrooms and bathrooms. for the 2007-2008 fiscal year. What type of evidence is inadmissible? The following are examples of inadmissible evidence: . When choosing “comparable properties” make sure that you provide the full street address and/or the Assessor’s Identification Number (Map Book . condition of property (well maintained/run down). and “fair market value” are all used to mean the same thing: the price a property would sell for in an “arms-length open market transaction”.

if possible you should go and look at the properties. (See Appendix for help on how to collect evidence at the Assessor’s Office. Remember the purchase price of a property sometimes does not reflect the fair market value. When evaluating the evidence you are preparing to present during your hearing.000 $110 per sq. With all of these different “physical characteristics” for comparable properties. foreclosure sales. how can the Hearing Officer or Board compare two properties? Once the Hearing Officer or Board has determined that your property and the “comparable properties” are similar. a sample of the Assessor’s Sales List.000 ÷ 1500 = 1500 sq. they usually compare the “price per square foot of improvement” of each of the properties.g. it will be very useful for you to make this “price per square foot” comparison. ft. and a suggested Comparable Sales Information Worksheet). The Assessor’s Office also maintains a listing of property sales which is available for review. Comparable sales of properties with sales date more than 90 days after the valuation date of your property are not acceptable as evidence at your hearing. This information is available on a “do it yourself” basis. if properties which you have identified as “physically comparable” have sales prices that are either extremely high or extremely low. If you request comparable sales information from someone else (local real estate agent or broker). It is often useful to visit the specific regional office that maintains the records for your property. Although the Assessor’s public service staff may help guide you through the steps.. $165. e. Where can I find information on comparable sales? Comparable sales information is available through several sources. otherwise they may not be accepted as evidence at your hearing. noting similarities and differences between the “comparable” properties and your property. The following example shows how this calculation is done: Example: Size of Improvement: Purchase Price: $165. For example. 5 . ft. You may even wish to take pictures of the “comparable” properties to show to the Hearing Officer or Board during your hearing. The sales lists maintained by the Assessor’s Office are available at both the Assessor’s main office as well as the Assessor’s regional offices. it is your responsibility to actually do the research and gather the necessary information to support your appeal.Once you have selected several “physically comparable” properties. you will need to further investigate these properties to ensure that the conditions of sale meet the “arms-length open market” criteria. The best source for comparable sales information is the real estate agents and brokers in your area. make sure that they understand that the “sales dates” of the comparable properties cannot be more than 90 days after the valuation date of your property. The staff of that office may be able to answer any specific questions you may have. This “price per square foot of improvement” comparison is used as a guide in determining the fair market value of your property.

and the capitalization method and rate used. or you received a discounted price on the construction materials and labor from a friend or relative. New Construction In addition to sales of comparable properties which would indicate the fair market value of a newly constructed building or an addition to an existing building. Sales should be reasonably close to the lien date. depending upon the circumstances of your appeal and the type of property involved.000 to build your house because you did most of the work yourself. If you use this approach to support your opinion of value. Your property will be assessed at a value that reflects fair market value and not actual cost. Compare the price that the same property would have if it were purchased within a reasonable time before or after the lien date of the assessment year on your application. 6 . The actual cost of the construction is not always indicative of the fair market value. Bring five (5) copies of written evidence if your appeal is scheduled before the Assessment Appeals Board. expenses. broker or salesperson. Personal Property The cost of acquiring the property is the method most often used in determining the value of personal property. and a reasonable allowance for entrepreneurial services.000. you should bring your deposit receipt and the closing statement to the hearing. can provide the Hearing Officer with necessary pertinent information regarding the purchase of your property. and its obsolescence. THE DAY OF YOUR HEARING Is parking available at the hearing location? Yes. Be sure to bring three (3) copies of any written information you plan to submit as evidence at a Hearing Officer hearing. Is there any other information I should bring to the hearing? If you recently purchased your property. property taxes during construction. and should have occurred in the open market. Documentation. Comparable sales may be used in cases dealing with boats or aircraft. The sales price should be verified with the buyer. the condition as of the lien date. parking is available at all hearing locations. However. you should submit evidence based on an income study to include the gross income. such as this. it may have cost you $180. including indirect costs such as cost of financing. Following are additional methods of determining market value: Income Approach to Determining Value This method is used when the subject property is of the type that is commonly purchased to generate income. the fair market value of the property may be $250. For example. other helpful information would include normal costs of construction. Parking rates vary depending on the location for which you are scheduled.Are there other methods of establishing the fair market value of my property? Yes. When gathering information regarding the initial cost of the property be sure to include when it was acquired. seller.

with the order of the hearings determined on a “first come. If an application is filed by a corporation. parent or child. If you want someone other than a spouse. The hearing locations are normally open for you to sign in 30 minutes before the scheduled times. limited partnership. If my appeal is denied for non-appearance. To do this. or a limited liability company. Hearings are open to the public. we try to minimize the time you wait while at the same time minimizing the cost of hearings. Lancaster Facility: There is free parking behind the facility. Metered street parking on some of the adjacent streets is also available. any officer or employee of the corporation who is knowledgeable of the particulars of the property may appear on behalf of the corporation and requires no written authorization. do I have any recourse? An Assessment Appeals Board may reopen and take evidence upon an application denied solely because of non-appearance if the applicant furnishes evidence of good cause for the failure to appear when scheduled. your wait will be longer than if you are the first person to sign in. How long will I have to wait for my hearing to begin? Based on our experience of how long hearings normally last and the number of applicants who fail to appear for their hearing. you must sign an agent's authorization and have your representative bring the signed authorization to the hearing. "Denied for nonappearance" means that your application is considered closed and no further action will be taken. and if the applicant files a written request for reconsideration within 60 days from the mailing of notification of the denial due to the lack of appearance.Los Angeles Facility: Parking is available at the Music Center on Grand Avenue. an Assessor's representative and yourself or your authorized agent. the Applicant’s Name. parents or children may appear in your place and represent you. and will determine that both the applicant and/or applicant’s agent and the Assessor’s representative are present at the hearing. How is the hearing before a Hearing Officer conducted? The Hearing Officer will first announce the Application Number. 7 . If you are the last person to sign in. However. you will receive a mailed notice of denial. Who participates at the hearing? Present at your hearing will be a Hearing Officer representing the Board of Supervisors. What happens if I don't attend the hearing and I don't send an authorized agent? If you or an authorized agent do not appear at the hearing. Agent's Authorization forms can be obtained by calling (213) 974-1471. What if I am unable to personally appear at the hearing? If you are unable to appear personally at the hearing. The Assessor’s representative then will give a description of your property. your spouse. In such a case. groups of hearings are scheduled at the same time. to represent you. or an authorized California licensed attorney. The Hearing Officer will determine who has the burden of proof and then will begin to hear evidence. your application will be denied for nonappearance. it is the policy of the Assessment Appeals Boards that applications will only be reinstated if there are extraordinary circumstances that caused the taxpayer to miss the hearing. first served” basis.

your property’s assessed value will be adjusted accordingly. or the Assessor disagrees. both of you have 14 days to appeal the recommendation and request a new hearing before an Assessment Appeals Board. the Board will review the Hearing Officer’s recommendation (normally within three weeks) and either accept or reject it. Prior to leaving the hearing. the Hearing Officer establishes a “fair market value” of your property as of the valuation date. the Assessor may contact you regarding your appeal.If the property is an owner-occupied single family residence. The written stipulation will be submitted to the Board for review and approval. the Assessor’s representative will have the opportunity to question you. What if I reach an agreement with the Assessor prior to the hearing. or I choose to withdraw my appeal? Prior to your hearing. The back of your appointment card may be used to withdraw the application. based on the evidence presented at the hearing. Once the Assessor’s representative is done. If the Board accepts the Hearing Officer’s recommendation. you will present your evidence. If rejected by the Board. If the Board rejects the Hearing Officer’s recommendation. What if I disagree. you and the Assessor’s representative will receive a copy of the Hearing Officer’s recommendation. and makes his recommendation to the Board for their review and consideration. the Board will notify you and the Assessor and will reschedule your application for a new hearing before the Board. CA 90012 (213) 974-1471 or toll free at 1-(888) 807-2111 8 . The request for a new hearing before the Board must be in writing and must be filed with the Board within 14 days of the Hearing Officer’s recommendation. You and the Assessor may reach an agreement on the correct value of your property and submit a written stipulation to that value. What happens if the Hearing Officer’s recommendation is not appealed by either party? If neither you nor the Assessor’s representative requests a new hearing within 14 days of Hearing Officer’s recommendation. with the Hearing Officer’s recommendation? If you or the Assessor’s representative disagrees with the recommendation. Once all evidence has been presented and questions have been answered. Written and telephone inquiries should be directed to: Assessment Appeals Board County of Los Angeles Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration Room B-4 500 West Temple Street Los Angeles. the Board will notify you and the Assessor and will schedule your application for a hearing before the Board. You may decide to withdraw your appeal. you will have the opportunity to question the Assessor’s representative. The Hearing Officer or Board may ask questions throughout the hearing. the Assessor’s representative has the burden of proof and will present evidence first.

After you have collected and organized your evidence. If helpful. you will need to organize the information and be prepared to present it at your hearing. for example. level of upkeep. Additional information. 9 . 3. 9. or with your Regional Assessor’s Office (locations are listed on the back of your tax bill). etc. A suggested Comparable Sales Information Worksheet is provided on the Appendix insert. 8. 2. in the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration. 7. 6. Record information about similar/comparable sales to present as evidence at your hearing. can be obtained from other records at the Assessor’s Office.APPENDIX Collecting Evidence at the Assessor’s Office Steps to follow when gathering information at the Assessor’s Office: 1. 4. A sample of the Sales List is on the Appendix insert titled “Sample of Assessor’s Sales List (K11)”. For Similar/Comparable Properties: • Find those with DEED TYPE equal to “Y” (“Y” indicates Regular Transfer) • Use RECORDING DATE as the Sales/Valuation Date (remember the sales/valuation date must not be more than 90 days after the valuation date of your property) • Use SELLING PRICE to support your opinion of “fair market value” (generally computed as Dollars per Square Foot of Improvement). Get the CLUSTER CODE for your property from the Assessor’s Clerk. you might also want to drive by the “Comparable Sale” properties to determine amenities. Bring a copy of your Application and Tax Bill with you to the Assessor’s Office.Use the information on the Assessor’s Sales List to identify properties that are “comparable” to your property. square feet of improvement • BEDROOMS • BATHROOMS 5. • USE CODE 0100 = Single Family 0101 = Single Family with Pool 010C = Condominium • YEAR BUILT • AREA. Identify Similar/Comparable Properties . pictures could be taken. Once you have collected information on Comparable Sales. View Assessor’s Sales List (microfiche) for your CLUSTER CODE/Neighborhood. Check with the Public Service Section. LOT SIZE.

If you are bringing pictures to your hearing. no copies are required. you may want to withdraw your application. Bring five (5) copies of any evidence you plan to present at an Assessment Appeals Board hearing.IMPORTANT REMINDER • • • Bring three (3) copies of any evidence you plan to present at a Hearing Officer hearing. It is strongly recommended that you complete the “Comparable Sales Information Worksheet” inserted in the back of this booklet prior to your hearing. You Need to Know If You Have a Valid Case. If the evidence you collect does not support your appeal. 10 .

ca.us/Categories/Appeals/SeminarSchedule.co.htm 11 . call (213) 974-4240 or access http://bos. when and how to file an appeal.us/Categories/PropertyTaxAppeals.la. For recorded information regarding the current seminar schedule.htm You may also access the Assessment Appeals Board at http://bos.la.co.FREE Public Education Seminars Available The Assessment Appeals Public Education Program of the Executive Office of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors offers FREE SEMINARS covering the assessment appeals process. and how to prepare for an assessment appeal hearing.ca.